Top prosecutor hits back at criticisms of Crown Prosecution Service (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Top prosecutor hits back at criticisms of Crown Prosecution Service
West Yorkshire’s top prosecutor has rejected criticism of the service by inspectors as inaccurate and out of date.
The Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate found that CPS Yorkshire and Humberside had made only limited improvement in the quality of its casework, with decision-making a particular concern.
The watchdog carried out a follow-up inspection after recommendations were made in a previous report in 2011.
Inspectors visited CPS West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and interviewed staff, and police and courts staff.
The new report found CPS Yorkshire and Humberside must implement improvements and focus on quality.
It also recommended the CPS works with police to develop a shared framework that can be held to account.
But the inspectors did acknowledge significant improvements had been made in the management and performance of the Central Casework Unit.
Chief Inspector Michael Fuller said that, overall, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside was moving in the right direction, but casework decision-making remained a cause for concern.
But Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “This report does not accurately reflect the considerable progress CPS Yorkshire and Humberside has made since the original inspection in 2011.
“The file sample covered in the report dates back to 2012 – which means that the findings are at least 18 months out of date. Since then the area’s performance has been one of continuous improvement. In fact, we are one of the most improved areas in the country.
“Since 2011, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside has undergone rapid and significant change. Not only have we been asked to operate within a sharply reduced budget, but our staff numbers have significantly decreased. I would like to pay tribute to the considerable efforts my staff are making, day in and day out, to deliver a quality prosecution service for the people of our region.
“We have implemented a series of rigorous quality checks on our casework, to identify areas of weakness, and feed these back to individuals for learning and improvement. Nationally we are leading the way on digital working and structural change – both of which are critical to continuing to deliver a quality service in light of the ongoing budget restrictions we are working with.”